Leigh Leopards Hooker Edwin Ipape says that relegation fears can be a source of motivation for his side as they look to stay in Super League.
The Leythers kicked off their campaign last week with a 10-20 defeat to local rivals Salford Red Devils.
Adrian Lam’s men comfortably cruised through the Championship last season, beating Featherstone Rovers in the playoff final to clinch promotion back to Super League.
In the last five seasons, Leigh have been in Rugby League’s top division twice but have struggled to crack the tough test the top clubs provide, going straight back down each time.
But Ipape believes that he and his team won’t go down without a fight and will do everything to avoid relegation.
Speaking to the Gazette at Super Leagues launch event, Ipape said “The last few times they have come down, we are going to look at and use it as motivation.
“This year you can expect a Leigh team where the boys are going to come out and play for each other and play their hearts out every week and it doesn’t matter if we win, lose or draw you are going to see a very competitive side.
It can be a great source of motivation for us as players and I think it’s great that people are doubting us for motivation.
This year we have just got to come out with the attitude to compete and give the fans something to cheer on.”
During the off-season, Leigh signed many experienced Super League players with the likes of former Wigan and Leeds Rhinos man Zac Hardaker and former Huddersfield Giants man Ricky Leutele.
The Papa New Guinea international believes that these experienced players can be the difference for Leigh staying up.
He also believes that the added extra quality can help with the challenge that Super League will present but admits that his side aren’t looking to finish high in the table.
“I think they have brought in a lot of confidence to our squad” said Ipape.
“Just to sit next to them is and to train alongside them and to see the way they train and the way they prepare we just get so much confidence off those players.
“They’ve done it all before and to have them on my side brings a lot of confidence.
“We are not looking far ahead and were we are going to finish or how high we are going to get on the ladder.
“Part of the pre-season for us was to get the players to work for each other and to play as a group, All the boys have come from different structures of coaching and the challenge is to get us on the same page to know exactly we can achieve every week in week out.
Leigh next take on Catalans Dragons on Saturday at five o’clock. Ipape and his team will be looking to bounce back and claim they’re first win in Super League of the new season.